Structure-based drug design and molecular dynamics studies of an allosteric modulator targeting the protein–protein interaction site of PDK1

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Abstract

Context: Protein–protein interaction interfaces play a major role in cell signaling pathways. There is always a great interest in developing protein–protein interaction (PPI) inhibitors of kinases, as they are challenging due to their hydrophobicity, flat surface, specificity, potency, etc. 3 Phosphoinositide-dependent kinase-1 (PDK1), which is involved in the PI3K/PDK1/AKT pathway, is a cancer target that has gained insight for the past two decades. PDK1 possesses a protein interaction fragment (PIF) pocket, which is a well-known PPI that targets allosteric modulators. This work focusses on energy-based pharmacophore model development which on virtual screening could yield novel scaffolds towards the drug designing objective for the kind of PDK1 modulators. A novel pyrazolo pyridine molecule was identified as an allosteric modulator that binds to the PPI site. The metadynamics simulations with free energy profiles further revealed the conformational allosteric changes stimulated on the protein structure upon ligand binding. The cytotoxic activity (IC50-20 μM) of the identified compound against five different cancer cell lines and cell cycle analysis supported the anticancer activity of the identified compound. Methods: All the computational works were carried out by the most commonly used Schrodinger Suite software. The pharmacophore was validated by Receiver Operation Characteristics (ROC) and screening against allosteric Enamine database library. The Optimized Potential Liquid Simulations (OPLS-2005) was used to minimize the structures for molecular docking calculations, and inbuilt scoring method of ranking the compounds based on docking score and Glide energy was used. Molecular dynamics simulations were conducted by Desmond implemented in Maestro. The hit compound was purchased from Enamine and tested against different cancer cell lines by MTT assay, apoptosis by western blotting technique, and by flow cytometry analysis.

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Kailasam Natesan, V., & Kuppannagounder Pitchaimuthu, E. (2024). Structure-based drug design and molecular dynamics studies of an allosteric modulator targeting the protein–protein interaction site of PDK1. Journal of Molecular Modeling, 30(2). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00894-024-05842-2

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